Google has announced a web-based visual software development tool to make it easy to create applications for mobile devices running the Android operating system.
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The App Inventor for Android will lower the barrier to entry for would-be developers because the tool requires no programming knowledge, according to Google.
Instead of writing code, the tool enables developers to design the way the app should look using a visual interface and provides blocks to specify the app's behaviour.
App Inventor is based on MIT's Open Blocks Java library and enables users to create apps by simply moving blocks about on screen and editing their properties as necessary.
The tool includes block for just about everything an Android phone can do as well as blocs to store information, repeat actions and set conditions.
Despite this simple approach, App Inventor provides access to powerful Android features such as GPS, accelerometer and orientation data, telephony services, speech-to-text services, and web services.
The number of Android apps has grown ten times in the past year to around 100,000. With App Inventor Android could soon catch up with Apple's iPhone apps now at around 200,000.
Anyone interested in using App Inventor can sign up using their Gmail address in the coming weeks.